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Boleto: A Novel Hardcover – May 8, 2012

3.9 out of 5 stars 44 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“Good stories teach us how to read them, and the opening pages of Boleto are entertaining, entrancing teachers. . . . Hagy often dazzles with her descriptions of the Wyoming landscape and wildlife. Whether its the corral of the Testerman ranch, the rugged passes of the Black Bell Ranch or the depressed outskirts of Anaheim, the settings glimmer with well-chosen metaphors.” ―The New York Times Book Review

“[Hagy] provides an unsentimental portrait of modern-day cowboys. . . . She details each twitch of Boleto's ears in language both acute and lyrical.” ―The New Yorker

“You come to Boleto as you would to a ranch or a polo match, for the horses. . . . Will [Testerman] ultimately learns that the pure connection between a cowboy and a horse has no corollary in the world of double-dealing humans. . . . This final discovery is surprisingly touching and bittersweet.” ―Wall Street Journal

“[A] beautiful tale of redemption and perseverance. . . . In measured, textured prose, Hagy finesses the nuances of equestrian life, from the knowing twitch of the filly's ears to Will naming his horse 'Boleto' ('ticket'), signifying his hoped for success. Joining such resonant talents as Annie Proulx and Kent Haruf, Hagy is fast becoming a recognizable author of the American West.” ―Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“In her gift for the language of horses, as in the beauty of her prose, Hagy will inevitably recall Annie Proulx, Kent Haruf and Cormac McCarthy. But she is writing as much about wealth and class, about work and privilege, as about horses and the Western landscape.” ―Washington Post

“Like many of hte great writers of the West, Alyson Hagy's writing is spare and eloquent. . . . The sweep of the story is reminiscent of artwork, and its solemnity has a nearly religiousintensity. ” ―Daniel Goldin, Boswell Books, NPR.org

About the Author

Alyson Hagy is the author of Ghosts of Wyoming and Snow, Ashes. Ghosts of Wyoming won the High Plains Book Award for Fiction. She lives in Laramie, Wyoming.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Graywolf Press (May 8, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1555976123
  • ISBN-13: 978-1555976125
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (44 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,727,034 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

I was raised in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia and currently live at the foot of the Laramie Mountains in Wyoming. I come from a storytelling culture, and I am drawn to how Americans, especially people who live in hard-to-live places, weave stories around their failures and successes. The Outer Banks of North Carolina, the hills of Virginia, the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, the crags and plains of Wyoming--these are all filled with stories for me, filled with striving and loss and survival.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Alyson Hagy's novel "Boleto" is not simply a story of a man and his horse. It is, however, one of a young man whose hope for his future is intimately tied to a horse. It addresses Will Testerman's ambition, his dreams, and the manner in which he handles himself in the face of adversity. The blood-bay filly is to be Will Testerman's "boleto," his ticket out of Wyoming and away from the family ranch. The filly is the means he plans to use to further his dreams; she is the means by which he believes he will reach his future. Ultimately, she is his ticket back to the ranch and the mother who needs him.

The youngest son of a small-time rancher and a school teacher mother, twenty-three year old Will Testerman wanted more than the life into which he was born. His mother, to whom Will is particularly close, has always encouraged him to think of and imagine life beyond their small town. A cancer survivor, she never tries to discourage Will's desire to leave.

Will, however, feels he has disappointed his father. His oldest brother is college graduate and successful in his career; his other brother is content remaining on the family ranch. Horses were to be Will's way out and the ticket to his future. To that end, Will purchases the blood-red filly - foal of Sally's Quick Ticket, a prize-winning Quarter Horse - for twelve hundred dollars.

Will moves to California to the estancia of Don Enrique, a wealthy Argentinian who, at a horse auction, casually offered Will a job. Don Enrique is involved in the world of polo. Will intends to learn how to develop polo ponies; he then plans to train and sell the filly whom he calls "Tick" - short for "Ticket," her dam's name - as a polo pony. A call from his mother changes Will's future.
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Format: Hardcover
Alyson Hagy's three part novel, Boleto, is set on a Wyoming hardscrabble ranch, among the Black Bell Dude Ranch guests, and along the hard mallet polo fields of California. A tale of learning and struggle and coming of age for Will Testerman that hits dead center. The blood-red filly was a ticket, a boleto, for him. Not exactly the ticket he wanted written, but nonetheless a ticket to another place. The man-horse ties, sense of family, and man-to-man relationships is written in sparse, clean prose without quotation marks. His mother's question, "Who will you be today, Will Testerman?" is repeated throughout the novel.

I read the hardback print edition. To my ear and eye, it rang true of modern day cowboy life.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
"Boleto" is a quietly-told gem.

Alyson Hagy has crafted a story that sucks the reader in with no effort, a story that has no huge impetus about an ordinary - but highly intelligent - young man who is extraordinarily good with horses. Will Testerman is home again in Montana after a social sidestep caused him more trouble than it was worth at his job on a ranch in Texas. The trouble here is, there's not enough revenue generated on the home ranch to support the entire family, and it's clear his older brother would appreciate it if Will left the ranching to him. Will's father doesn't appear to be overjoyed that Will is back, either; and his mother, while supportive of him, is going through trials of her own, and would like to see him succeed somewhere and be happy.

So Will uses his nest egg to purchase a filly on another ranch in whom he sees great potential as, of all things, a polo pony. She's green, though, and needs to be trained from the bottom up. Will is competent to the task, however, and brings her home to start her training, with the expectation of accepting a further job on a dude ranch a ways away from home. Eventually, he even gets to California, at the invitation of a South American mogul who owns a polo pony ranch, someone who was impressed with Will's style at a rodeo.

The spare, beautiful prose that builds this story is a joy to read. Descriptions of weather, of people, and of Will's patient, quiet way of training the filly (never named, and only referred to as Ticket, a shortened reference to her mother) into a fully-working quarter horse (and later, a polo pony) flows across the pages with ease.
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Format: Hardcover
I thought that I would really like this book. I work with horses and was looking forward to reading this story with the horsey setting. While I became engaged in the book during the first 80 pages, it then fell flat. I found myself laboring through the book rather than being swept away. The ending was a drop off for me. I actually returned and re-read passages to determine what I had missed. Maybe the point of the book is that there is no point. That the backdrop of horses could have been another setting with the same character development and motives. If the horses were a symbol of a 'coming of age' for Will Testerman, it got lost. At the end of the book, I could not say that it satisfied any of my reader needs.

I do think that the author is a beautiful writer. Some of the passages were breathtaking and absorbing. I don't know what happened with this book. It seems as though in the process of writing or editing, either the author or the editor or both were distracted at the final draft and the book lost its ability to maintain reader interest. I'm sorry I'm rating this so low.
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